Intact Forest Landscapes
This indicator shows the coverage of intact forest landscapes as a percentage of the total land and inland water area for the years 2000 and 2013, the trend in percent loss of intact forest landscapes, as well as the average annual percent loss of the coverage of intact forest landscapes during this time period. The annual change in coverage of intact forest landscapes was calculated using the coverage of intact forest landscape in the year 2000 as a baseline. Intact forest landscapes represent “a seamless mosaic of forest and naturally treeless ecosystems within the zone of current forest extent, which exhibit no remotely detected signs of human activity or habitat fragmentation and is large enough to maintain all native biological diversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species.” They are technically defined as territories with an area larger than 500 km2, at least 10 km wide at the broadest place, and at least 2 km wide in corridors or appendages, and within today’s global extent of forest and non-forest ecosystems with tree canopy cover greater than 20%.
By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.
The percent loss in the coverage of intact forest landscapes ranges from 0-100%, with higher values indicating a quicker loss of intact forest landscapes (i.e., higher pressure to habitats and biological diversity). The baseline coverage of intact forest landscapes ranges from 0-100%, with higher values indicating greater areas of intact forest landscapes available to provide habitat and ecosystem services.
This indicator is available globally at the scales of basin, country, FAO ecological zones, and CBD/WDPA regions.
The coverage of intact forest landscapes as a percentage of total land and inland water area is available for the years 2000 and 2013.
The percent loss and the average annual percent loss of the coverage of intact forest landscapes are available for the period 2000-2013.
The intact forest landscapes indicator is derived from the Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) 2000-2013 dataset (Potapov et al., 2008 and 2017), which mapped global IFL extent and reduction from 2000 to 2013 using Landsat imagery at 30 meters spatial resolution. An Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) is defined as "an unbroken expanse of natural ecosystems within the current forest extent, with no remotely detected signs of human activity, and large enough that all native biodiversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species, could be maintained."
For the purposes of global assessment, technically an IFL is mapped as a territory within forest zones, with (i) an area of at least 500 km2 (50,000 ha), (ii) a minimum width of 10 km (measured as the diameter of a circle that could be entirely inscribed within the boundaries of the territory), and (iii) a minimum corridor/appendage width of 2 km. Forest zones are defined as the present extent of forest landscapes including mosaics of forests, naturally treeless ecosystems and deforested areas with tree canopy cover above 20%, using global tree canopy cover datasets (Hansen et al., 2013).
The source data provides information as ESRI shapefiles, including IFL for year 2000, IFL for year 2013, and IFL loss datasets 2000-2013.
NatureServe converted the source data to a raster file at 1-km2 resolution for analysis. Based on the source data, for each analysis unit (e.g., basin, country, and region) we calculated a mean value for IFL cover of a percent of total land area in 2000 and 2013. We then derived the average annual percent loss of IFL for each analysis unit. The percentages were calculated using 2000 IFL cover as a baseline.
NatureServe disaggregated the source data to multiple spatial scales to generate this indicator.
The Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) data provide the best globally-consistent, spatial representation of intact forest landscape coverage in 2000 and 2013. The dataset itself does not show the intactness and change of non-forest ecosystem vegetation types, such as natural deserts, grasslands, wetlands and shrublands, which are important habitats in many regions.
The causes for the reduction in IFL area is not implied by this indicator, although in the original publication (Potapov et al., 2017), fire related and non-fire causes for IFL loss was mapped and discussed.
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For additional information about the source data, please see the article by Potapov et al., 2008 & 2017:
Potapov P., Yaroshenko A., Turubanova S., Dubinin M., Laestadius L., Thies C., Aksenov D., Egorov A., Yesipova Y., Glushkov I., Karpachevskiy M., Kostikova A., Manisha A., Tsybikova E., Zhuravleva I. 2008. Mapping the World's Intact Forest Landscapes by Remote Sensing. Ecology and Society, 13 (2).
Potapov, P., Hansen, M. C., Laestadius L., Turubanova S., Yaroshenko A., Thies C., Smith W., Zhuravleva I., Komarova A., Minnemeyer S., Esipova E. 2017. The last frontiers of wilderness: Tracking loss of intact forest landscapes from 2000 to 2013. Science Advances, 2017; 3:e1600821
Hansen et al., 2013: Hansen, M. C., P. V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S. V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend. 2013. "High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change." Science 342 (15 November): 850-53.
Source data are available to download from Intact Forest Landscapes.